Peter H. Raven, one of the world's leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity, is president of the Missouri Botanical Garden and George Engelmann Professor of Botany at Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, Dr. Raven is Chairman of the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration.
For more than 36 years, Dr. Raven has headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he has nurtured to become a world-class center for botanical research, education, and horticulture display. During this period, the Garden has become a leader in botanical research in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and North America.
Described by TIME magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," Dr. Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and animals and is a leading advocate for building a sustainable environment. In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Dr. Raven has been the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan ; Environmental Prize of the Institute de la Vie; Volvo Environment Prize; the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement; the Sasakawa Environment Prize; and the International Cosmos Prize, Osaka.
In 1992 he received the honorary membership of the German Botanical Society. Recently he was awarded the BBVA Prize for Ecology and Conservation, Madrid (2008). He has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.
In 2001, Dr. Raven received the National Medal of Science, the highest award for scientific accomplishment in the United States . Dr. Raven served for 12 years as Home Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, to which he was elected in 1977. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Philosophical Society, of the academies of science in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Chile, China, Denmark, Georgia, Hungary, India, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, the U.K. (the Royal Society), and of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS). He was first Chair of the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation, a private, congressionally-chartered organization that funds joint research with the independent countries of the former Soviet Union.
Dr. Raven is Co-editor of the Flora of China, a joint Chinese-American international project that is leading to a contemporary, 50-volume account on all the plants of China . He has written numerous books and publications, both popular and scientific, including Biology of Plants (co-authored with Ray Evert and Susan Eichhorn, W. H. Freeman and Company/Worth Publishers, New York), the internationally best-selling textbook in botany, of which the seventh edition appeared earlier this year; and Environment (coauthored with Linda Berg, Wiley & Sons, New York), a leading textbook on the environment, now in its fifth edition.
Dr. Raven received his Ph.D. from the University of California , Los Angeles , in 1960 after completing his undergraduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been awarded a number of honorary degrees by universities in the United States and throughout the world.
Text: Courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden, December 2007